The Thrill of a New Word

Steve Jobs’ resignation from Apple 40 days ago was the first time I had ever heard, seen, or known of the word pescatarian. Pescatarian. What a lovely, utilitarian kind of word. And who would guess that I would have anything in common with the creative genius behind Apple computers? Whatever parts of Mr. Jobs’ brain light up in technological intelligence only blink – intermittently and with hesitation – in mine. Still, in the wonderfully unifying power of language, we are both pescatarians. Which has nothing to do with signs of the zodiac or political preferences. Steve Jobs is a vegetarian that will on occasion eat fish. I am, too. So the king of iPads and iPhones and a man that can tilt the Dow with only a brief announcement and I, possessor of neither iPad nor iPhone and a woman whose only connection with the Dow is a rapidly-dwindling 401(k) account, are both pescatarians. How very encouraging that there is a word – the combination of the Italian word for fish (pesce) and the word vegetarian – that crosses economic, social, and gender lines to describe basic eating practices. And how validating to find that sometime in the last 2 decades the language hatched a word for my own personal food habits. A good reminder that language is fluid and reflects its environment. Thank you, Mr. Jobs, for adding to my vocabulary, however unintentional on your part. I wish you good health and happy eating. (I have a great recipe for herbed Salmon. Just shoot me an email [sorry, I don’t text] and I’d be happy to share.)

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